National News

Will Netflix numbers confirm cable cutting?

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2014-04-21 01:44

 Two things Netflix-related happened last week. One, Netflix released a trailer for the new season of Orange is the New Black. Two, we got more evidence that Netflix is the new cable. 

“People who use Netflix or Hulu are actually almost three times more likely to be in that cord cutter segment,” says John Fetto, senior analyst at Experian Marketing Services. Its data in a new report show nearly 1 in 5 homes with a Netflix or Hulu subscription has no cable. 

Until now, he says, those cord cutters were more hype than reality. “We had never actually seen a real uptick in our data. It was always within the margin of error,” Fetto says. 

But now, he says about six and a half percent of households have only internet service—that’s two and a half million more than in 2010. Not everyone is swayed, though. Live TV still has its perks. 

“Consumers want local news. They want live sports,” says Brett Sappington, director of research at Parks Associates. He says some TV viewers are downgrading instead of cutting their cable when they sign up for Netflix.

And, of course, Netflix wins either way.

Mobile broadband's latest bidding war

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2014-04-21 01:33

As Americans buy more mobile devices, the airwaves become even more crowded with signals trying to reach their destination as fast as possible. Those airwaves carrying transmissions back and forth are referred to as "spectrum," and mobile providers like AT&T and Verizon can't get enough of them.

That's why the FCC is planning on purchasing spectrum from TV broadcasters and selling it to mobile broadband providers. It sounds like an easy solution to a big problem.

As chairman of the Federal Communications Commission Tom Wheeler said when he appeared on Marketplace Tech back in November:

"That, hopefully, will be a marketplace means of determining what the highest and best use of the spectrum is, and then we will take that spectrum -- which we have bought back -- and resell it to the wireless carriers to be able to meet the climbing demand for wireless services."

However, Brian Fung, a technology reporter for the Washington Post, says it's not that simple. According to Fung:

"There are two big wireless companies: Verizon and AT&T, and they want to buy up as much spectrum as they can get. On the other side you have smaller companies like Sprint and T-Mobile who say that they’re going to be shut out of the bidding opportunities if AT&T and Verizon are allowed to buy up as much as they want."

 Even more troubling is the possibility that companies like AT&T and Verizon could buy up a bunch of spectrum, and then simply not use it -- instead opting to hold onto it so that other companies don't have access to more spectrum.

Still, that won't stop the larger companies from participating. AT&T has threatened to pull out of the auction if it doesn't get its way, and that would be bad news for the Government. The FCC needs larger companies to participate in order to make the auction profitable.

In Asian-Majority District, House Race Divides Calif. Voters

NPR News - Mon, 2014-04-21 01:02

The U.S. mainland's only Asian-majority congressional district sits in California's Silicon Valley, where two Indian-American candidates are trying to oust Japanese-American Congressman Mike Honda.

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Who Should Pay To Keep The Internet's Locks Secure?

NPR News - Sun, 2014-04-20 23:44

Fortune 1000 companies rely on the open source software OpenSSL for their core business. Two-thirds of websites use it. But no one pays for it and it's never had a complete security audit.

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How Do Companies Boost 401(k) Enrollment? Make It Automatic

NPR News - Sun, 2014-04-20 23:42

More Americans are saving for retirement through their employers' 401(k) programs. That follows a move to automatically sign up workers to participate in the retirement savings plans.

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For The Children's Sake, Put Down That Smartphone

NPR News - Sun, 2014-04-20 23:41

When adults are absorbed in their mobile devices, the consequences for children are not good. Research shows kids act out more if they are competing with a mobile device for their parent's attention.

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Scribes Are Back, Helping Doctors Tackle Electronic Medical Records

NPR News - Sun, 2014-04-20 23:40

In ancient times scribes were used to record everything from prayers to legal transactions. Now they're making a comeback in the doctor's office, easing the transition to electronic medical records.

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LA County's New Watchdog May Not Have Much Bite

NPR News - Sun, 2014-04-20 23:39

Max Huntsman's job is to monitor the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, one of the nation's most troubled law enforcement agencies. The only problem: He doesn't have any real legal power.

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Car Hits Packed Florida Church, Injuring About 20

NPR News - Sun, 2014-04-20 22:15

The Lexus sedan slammed into the church Sunday night just as the annual Easter concert was about to begin. The car went through the building's brick outer wall and several rows of pews, police said.

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16-Year-Old Survives In Wheel Well Of Maui Flight

NPR News - Sun, 2014-04-20 21:58

The teenage boy survived the trip from California to Hawaii on Sunday unharmed despite frigid temperatures at 38,000 feet and a lack of oxygen, FBI and airline officials said.

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Grand Jury Probe Could Complicate Rick Perry's Prospects

NPR News - Sun, 2014-04-20 21:52

A grand jury in Austin is considering whether the Texas governor abused his power when he carried out a threat to veto $7.5 million in state funding for public corruption prosecutors last summer.

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Six Things I Saw In Eastern Ukraine

NPR News - Sun, 2014-04-20 16:05

NPR's Ari Shapiro went to Kiev this month planning to report several feature stories on the Ukrainian revolution. Instead, he found himself documenting a country edging toward civil war.

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Hey, Kids, Remember You're On Our Side: The FBI Makes A Movie

NPR News - Sun, 2014-04-20 13:07

Instead of a public service announcement, the FBI has made Game of Pawns, a docudrama about a college student recruited by the Chinese government. The message is obvious: Don't be a spy.

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A Scientific Experiment: Field Trips Just For Teachers

NPR News - Sun, 2014-04-20 13:00

Educators say the middle grades are a key time time to get kids jazzed about science, but many teachers say they lack the tools they need. In Chicago, a science museum is helping to fill the the gap.

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In South Korea, Ferry Rescue Efforts Yield Only Grisly Results

NPR News - Sun, 2014-04-20 13:00

It's been a grim Easter Sunday in South Korea as the death toll continues to rise from the ferry disaster that left nearly 300 passengers, many of them high school students, dead or missing.

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California's Drought Ripples Through Businesses, Then To Schools

NPR News - Sun, 2014-04-20 13:00

California farmers produce an enormous proportion of American produce, but the state is now experiencing a record-breaking drought that is being felt throughout the state and the U.S.

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Ferry Transcript Shows Confusion And Panic: 'Please Come Quickly'

NPR News - Sun, 2014-04-20 12:59

The radio call transcript gives new detail to a tragedy that has left about 240 people missing. Early in its plight, the South Korean ferry seems to have listed too far to deploy its life boats.

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It's 4:20 On 4/20: Denver Hosts The Cannabis Cup Today

NPR News - Sun, 2014-04-20 12:20

The Cannabis Cup festival's date is no coincidence – it's a conversion of the pot smoker's favorite time of 4:20 into a date. Denver is hosting it for the first time since state pot laws were relaxed.

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Service Dog Guides Marathon Bombing Victims Through A Grim Year

NPR News - Sun, 2014-04-20 12:16

Newlyweds Jessica Kensky and Patrick Downes each lost a leg in the Boston Marathon bombing. Rescue the assistance dog helps fetch keys and push buttons, bringing warmth and joy as the couple recovers.

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'A Wound That Doesn't Close': Armenians Suffer Uncertainty Together

NPR News - Sun, 2014-04-20 11:17

The Easter holiday finds Christians in the Middle East concerned over what the future may hold. As the violence in Syria deepens, many Armenians remember a history of genocidal tragedies.

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